Mo. city proposes incentive to recruit firefighters, cops
The Public Safety Recruiting and Retention Initiative would “help to make Columbia a destination city” for first responders
By EMS1 Staff
COLUMBIA, Mo. — The city of Columbia has proposed an incentive program to bring in more firefighter and police recruits.
Columbia Missourian reported that councilman Matt Pitzer introduced the Public Safety Recruiting and Retention Initiative, which would use $500,000 to “help make Columbia a destination city for hardworking police officers and firefighters.”
The funds would provide $500 a month in rent assistance for new hires during their first six months on the job, and any firefighter or police officer that has worked for the city for at least two years would be eligible for $5,000 in down payment assistance if they commit to stay for five years, and $10,000 in assistance if they commit to 10 years.
“Unfortunately, here in Columbia, slowing revenue growth means that the size of our police and fire departments has not kept pace with the needs of a growing and vibrant city,” Pitzer said. “When short-staffing can literally make the difference between life and death, we must do all that we can to recruit and retain the very best of our public servants.”
Pitzer said the initiative aims to increase the retention rate after the city saw 20 percent of firefighters and police officers either resign or retire in the last two years.